AI, neither artificial nor intelligent

me not writing this blog post (original artwork from

The term ‘artificial intelligence’ is thrown around quite a lot these days. It’s perhaps the most buzzword in science and technology right now with the development of self-driving cars, online dating, autonomous driving and other amazing technologies. But many people seem to get it wrong. Artificial intelligence is not some sort of brain in a vat — it is simply an extension of modern technology that makes algorithms work more effectively.

To many, the term Artificial Intelligence (AI) conjures up images of robo-patrol robots or fighter jet flight systems. While these avatars may have fooled us into thinking that machines are thinking and deliberating, today’s AI is being used everyday in mundane situations. Take Facebook for example. It uses artificial intelligence to identify what you like about the world around you and suggest your friends the same. This is powered by both advanced technology and deprogrammed humans (aka Machine Learning algorithms).

I’ve recently seen some pretty wild claims being made about Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in particular. These claims are certainly exciting to think about, and there are any number of reasons as to why the general public should be very concerned.

Artificial intelligence that learns in a supervised fashion is artificial intelligence. Learning happens automatically, without human intervention. Computer programed to operate in a particular manner regardless of the content, quality or style. Machine Learning models are all about learning.